Our friend and partner Karina Vimonte (Fundacion Co_Dis) has spent the last few years of her life talking about the difference between "living together" (convivir, in Spanish) rather than "including." Her book, Change of Social View Towards Disability from the Communication Standpoint (Spanish: El Cambio de Mirada Social Hacia La Discapacidad Desde La Comunicacion), underscores typical gaffes in communication that we are all guilty of when talking about individuals with disabilities. Just to name a few: "Sick" is a child with a fever, "little angels" are in Heaven, "specials" are at the restaurant, and "delayed" is the clock. Just like this, Karina Vimonte proposes a more conscious way to refer to our fellow humans, since by changing the way we communicate about those around us, we will also elevate their status.
Karina Vimonte talks about disability as a function of the environment: We only have a disability when the environment cannot accommodate us. Hence, a non-verbal individual that can communicate with a communication device, can live together with others in this manner, and the disability disappears. A ramp to a restaurant makes it possible for those who use a wheelchair and those who don't to be able to dine there indiscriminately. Disability exists because of a world that does not accommodate it.
Let's start changing the world, little by little, by changing the way we speak about our fellow humans. Let's become conscious about what we say, how we say it, and what we mean.
For my friends in Argentina, please feel free to click on the book's link for a copy in Mercado Libre. For those of you reading from different parts of the world, feel free to download the PDF or stay tuned for new updates! Let's carry this message around the world!